Welcome to COVIDPlasma.org
This site is a resource to educate interested donors, the health care community and the public on the rapidly evolving therapy of COVID-19 convalescent plasma. This site is brought to you by AABB. AABB (formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks), is an international, not-for-profit association representing individuals and institutions involved in the fields of transfusion medicine and biotherapies. AABB’s community – comprising of blood centers, hospital blood collectors and transfusion services – is committed to advancing optimal donor safety and patient care.
If you have recovered from COVID-19, you may be able to help patients currently fighting the infection by donating your plasma. As a result of your infection, your plasma now contains COVID-19 antibodies, which is one way your immune system fought the virus when you were sick. Your plasma is now known as convalescent plasma.
Am I eligible to donate?
If you had COVID-19 and want to donate, you must be fully recovered to be eligible. To be eligible to donate, you do not need a negative test result for COVID-19 but you must be symptom-free for at least 14 days. Some centers may require individuals to be symptom free for 28 days.
You should call your local AABB-accredited donation site to talk with them about your interest in donating COVID plasma and your questions about the donor requirements and your health history. Please visit AABB’s blood donation site finder to locate your local AABB-accredited blood donation site.
If you think you had COVID-19 but were never tested, you can still contact your local AABB-accredited donation site. Your blood donor center will be able to guide you through the process. It may be easier than you think!
To donate, you must feel healthy on the day of donation and meet some additional requirements. The minimum age to donate in most states is 16 or 17.
Where do I go to donate?
Many AABB-accredited blood donation sites are collecting COVID-19 convalescent plasma.
Find your nearest blood donation site and contact them.
I have not had COVID-19. What can I do to help?
You can consider donating blood! One blood donation can save up to three lives. Blood is needed every day to provide lifesaving treatments to a variety of patients. You can help ensure that blood continues to be available for patients by finding a blood donor center near you to schedule your donation. The FDA talks about the importance of blood donation during the COVID-19 pandemic in this statement: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: Blood Donations
What is Convalescent Plasma?
When a person contracts a virus like COVID-19, their immune system creates antibodies to fight the virus. These antibodies are found in plasma, which is the liquid part of blood. Plasma with these infection-fighting antibodies is called “convalescent plasma.” Through a blood donation process, this antibody-rich plasma can be collected from a recovered person, then transfused to a sick patient who is still fighting the virus. This provides a boost to the immune system of the sick patient and may help speed the recovery process.
Convalescent plasma for COVID-19
The FDA has identified use of COVID-19 convalescent plasma as an important investigational treatment for patients with moderate or severe illness due to COVID-19. You will also see COVID-19 convalescent plasma referred to as COVID plasma or CCP. CCP is considered an investigational treatment because clinical studies are underway but have not yet been completed. We know there is evidence that CCP has helped patients with other illnesses. Doctors and researchers are currently working on studies to determine how effective COVID plasma will be in treating COVID-19 patients.
While additional treatments are evolving, CCP is an option that may help some moderately or severely ill patients. The idea to use this treatment for the new coronavirus was suggested by Arturo Casadevall, MD, PhD, from Johns Hopkins University; and Liise-anne Pirofski, MD, from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
A long history of therapy
The collection and transfusion of convalescent plasma as a treatment was first used in the 1890s and helped reduce the severity of a number of infectious disease outbreaks prior to the development of antimicrobial therapy in the 1940s.
In the early 20th century, convalescent plasma treatment was used during outbreaks of various infectious diseases, including measles, mumps and influenza. More recently, it was used during the H1N1 influenza pandemic in 2009, and again in 2013 during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
1) Recovered COVID-19 patient donates plasma
2) Plasma is tested.
3) Plasma is stored and transported to hospital
4) Patient treated with plasma
5) Therapy is complete.
6) Recovered patient may become future donor.
Donating COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma: FAQs
I did not get tested for COVID-19 but had symptoms consistent with the virus. Can I still donate?
- Maybe! If you did have the virus, your blood will have COVID-19 antibodies developed by your immune system at the time of your infection. Your local blood center will be able help you with the next steps when you contact them about the donation process.
Where can I donate?
- Find your nearest AABB-accredited blood donation site and contact them to find out where they are currently collecting convalescent plasma.
Who is eligible to donate?
- In addition to the eligibility criteria for CCP donation, there are standard requirements for all blood donors (e.g. feeling well and healthy, minimum age and weight, etc.). Your local blood donation site will ensure you meet all necessary criteria before donating.
- Donations from women who have been pregnant undergo additional testing for HLA antibodies to help prevent TRALI or transfusion-related acute lung injury. TRALI is a rare but serious complication that has been linked to transfusion of plasma. In order to lower the risk for TRALI in patients who are treated with CCP, plasma for transfusion is usually collected from a person who has never been pregnant or a donor that tests negative for HLA antibodies.
If I meet the criteria for donating COVID-19 convalescent plasma, how often can I donate?
- It depends. Typically, plasma donations such as these are only permitted every 28 days. However, the medical director of your donation site may determine it is safe to allow more frequent donations for some donors. For example, some donation sites are permitting eligible donors to donate once every 7 days for one month, or every two weeks for 2 months. Your local donation site will be able to provide you with more information.
My family member is being treated for COVID-19. Can I donate to help them if I am eligible?
- If you would like to donate CCP and meet the criteria, contact your local blood center to inquire about donating and make an appointment.
Is it safe to donate blood?
- Yes! AABB accredited blood donor centers follow AABB Standards and FDA’s regulations. These establishments follow strict rules and regulations to maintain the safety of all involved in the blood donation process. AABB-accredited blood centers and hospital blood banks voluntarily adhere to even higher quality and safety standards as part of their commitment to your safety.
Can I donate CCP or blood after being diagnosed with COVID-19?
Yes – You must be healthy and well before you donate CCP or blood. If you are interested in donating CCP:
- You must be symptom-free for at least 14 days. Some donation sites may ask you to wait 28 days after your last symptom.
- CCP is not collected at every donation site so use the AABB donor center locator to find a center.
My local blood center is not collecting COVID plasma. How can I still donate?
To donate blood:
- Please wait 28 days after the resolution of your COVID-19 symptoms before donating.
- Here is what FDA is saying about the importance of blood donation during the COVID-19 pandemic: FDA Statement: (March 19, 2020) Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: Blood Donations
- To locate another blood center near you, use the AABB donor center locator to search by zip code.
Information for Patients: FAQs
Is convalescent plasma transfusion safe?
- If you or someone you know is being treated for a moderate or severe case of COVID-19, your doctors may determine that COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP) transfusion is an appropriate treatment option to consider. You should discuss treatment options with your doctor to understand if CCP is the best treatment option for you.
- Plasma transfusion is generally considered a low-risk procedure but is not free of risk. Each donation undergoes extensive testing and processing for safety and quality as required by AABB and the FDA. Early research into the use of CCP for treatment of COVID-19 suggests that it may be a safe and effective therapy that reduces the length and severity of the COVID-19. AABB-accredited hospitals have chosen to meet voluntary quality and safety standards as part of their commitment to patient safety.